UNIDO to empower 500,000 Nigerian SMEs with skills

The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation is set to empower over 500,000 Small and Medium Enterprises, especially operators in the non-oil sector, with adequate skills to enhance their operations and contribute significantly to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product in the next two years.

The Chief Technical Adviser, Investment Promotion Division, United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, Mr. Stanislaw Pigon, said for the Nigerian economy to be competitive, the non-oil sector must be equipped with adequate investment and training in technology.

Pigon, who spoke at the UNIDO roundtable meeting on investment and technology promotion with captains of industry in Lagos on Wednesday, said this would be made available by the organisation from.

He stated that the organisation was set to partner several groups of industrial firms, professional bodies, enterprises and the Federal Government to ensure sustainable industrial development in the country.

Pigon said, “Investment and technology are also very important in improving infrastructure efficiency, diversifying the economy, expanding the production base, as well as facilitating access to international and new markets.

“But disparities in terms of investment flows and technology innovation still persist and development efforts are hampered by weaknesses in institutional capacity, regulatory frameworks, the cost of doing business, the lack of advisory and support services for both foreign and local investors.”

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He added that the Investment and Technology Promotion Office arm of UNIDO was set to provide support, advisory and technical services to enterprises and business development firms through networking with the private sector and institutions in the country to disseminate opportunities for investment and technology transfer.

Speaking at the event, a manager with Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Mr. Sadiq Usman, agreed with Pigon that lack of technical skills and capacity building had been the bane of industrial growth in the country.

“The FMN has been witnessing difficulties in getting a capable hand to manage its sugar mill in Niger State. We go to India every year to employ experts to work in the mill because we can’t find any Nigerian capable of handling the work,” Usman stated.

The Head, ITPO Nigeria, Mrs. Adebisi Olumodimu, said, “With the right regulatory incentive framework, and the right frame of mind of entrepreneurs in the non-oil sector, the Nigerian economy could take a step forward in industrial upgrading and technological innovation to make the nation a more competitive brand in the continent and the world at large.”

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